Bruins score twice in third to beat Senators in Game 1, 2-1

Bruins score twice in third to beat Senators in Game 1, 2-1

OTTAWA – The Bruins survived some long stretches where it didn’t look very good for them, and grind out a gutty playoff victory to start their series.

Bruins MVP Brad Marchand hopped on the rebound of a Patrice Bergeron one-timer after a long, extended shift where the Bruins hemmed the Senators in their own zone, and took a 2-1 win in Game 1 of the first round series at the Canadian Tire Centre.


The goal in the final minutes of the third snapped a 20-game goal-scoring drought for No. 63 in the playoffs, and saw Boston’s best players make something happen when it was needed in crunch time of the third period. The third period saw the Bruins throw 11 shots on net at the Sens, and get off the mat from what looked like a middle period where Guy Boucher’s trap was starting to get locked in.

The game took a turn toward Ottawa in the second period as the Bruins didn’t have a single shot on net, and the Senators managed to scratch for one strike and a small lead. Bobby Ryan stripped Adam McQuaid of the puck by the B’s blue line, and then bulled his way past Zdeno Chara to the Boston net before flipping a second chance bid past Tuukka Rask.

That was the way things stayed until Boston finally broke through with a shot five minutes into the third, and then a Frank Vatrano sniper shot from the high slot followed to snap a 16-game goal-scoring drought to end the season for him. It was a nice play on a won battle by Adam McQuaid along the side boards, and that eventually turned into Riley Nash feeding Vatrano in the high slot for one of his patented snap-shots that fooled Craig Anderson.

The Vatrano goal set up Boston’s heroics at the end of the period with Marchand acting as playoff hero for the Black and Gold on this night. 

Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

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Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

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There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.